China's top diplomat urges US restraint

China's Wang Yi (R) has told Mike Pompeo the United States must show restraint on trade and Iran.
China's Wang Yi (R) has told Mike Pompeo the United States must show restraint on trade and Iran.

China's senior diplomat Wang Yi has told US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that recent US words and actions have harmed the interests of China and its enterprises, and that Washington should show restraint, China's foreign ministry says.

Speaking to Pompeo by telephone, Wang said the United States should not go "too far" in the current trade dispute between the two sides, adding that China is still willing to resolve differences through negotiations, but they should be on an equal footing.

On Iran, Wang said China hoped all parties will exercise restraint and act with caution to avoid escalating tensions.

US State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement Pompeo spoke with Wang on Saturday and discussed bilateral issues and US concerns about Iran, but gave no other details.

Tensions between Washington and Tehran have increased in recent days, raising concerns about a potential US-Iran conflict. Earlier this week the US pulled some diplomatic staff from its Baghdad embassy following attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf.

China struck a more aggressive tone in its trade war with the US on Friday, suggesting a resumption of talks between the world's two largest economies would be meaningless unless Washington changed course.

The tough talk capped a week that saw Beijing unveil fresh retaliatory tariffs, US officials accuse China of backtracking on promises made during months of talks, and the Trump administration level a potentially crippling blow against one of China's biggest and most successful companies.

The US announced on Thursday it was putting Huawei Technologies, the world's largest telecoms equipment-maker, on a blacklist that could make it extremely hard to do business with US companies.

The US Commerce Department then said on Friday it may soon scale back restrictions on Huawei. It said it was considering issuing a temporary general licence to "prevent the interruption of existing network operations and equipment".

Potential beneficiaries of this licence could, for example, include telecoms providers in thinly populated parts of US states such as Wyoming and Oregon that purchased network equipment from Huawei in recent years.

On Friday, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang, asked about state media reports suggesting there would be no more trade negotiations, said China always encouraged resolving disputes with the US through dialogue and consultations.

Australian Associated Press